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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 16, 2023
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  4. Inorganic pyrophosphatase (PPase) is an enzyme that catalyzes the hydrolysis of the phosphoanhydride bond in pyrophosphate (PPi) to release inorganic phosphate (Pi) and simultaneously exchange oxygen isotopes between Pi and water. Here, we quantified the exchange kinetics of oxygen isotopes between five Pi isotopologues (P18O4, P18O316O, P18O216O2, P18O16O3, and P16O4) and water using Raman spectroscopy and 31P nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) during the PPase-catalyzed 18O–16O isotope exchange reaction in Pi-water and PPi-water systems. At a high PPi concentration (300 mM), hydrolysis of PPi by PPase was predominant, and only a small fraction of PPi (≪1%) took part in the reversible hydrolysis–condensation reaction (PPi ↔ Pi), leading to the oxygen isotope exchange between Pi and water. We demonstrated that Raman and NMR methods can be equally applied for monitoring the kinetics of the oxygen exchange between the Pi isotopologue and water. It was found that the isotope exchange determined by the spectroscopic methods was detectable as low as 0.2% 18O abundance, but the reliability below 1% was much lower. Given that high P concentrations (≥1 mM) are required in these methods, environmental application of these methods is limited to rare high P conditions in engineered and agricultural environments.
  5. Scientific information can be used to help people understand and describe the world. For example, consumers regularly seek out information about their food and drink to help inform their purchasing decisions. Sometimes, however, consumers can respond negatively to this information, even when the information did not intend to convey a negative signal. These negative responses can be the result of misunderstandings or strong, visceral, emotional behavior, that can be challenging to foresee and once arisen, difficult (and expensive) to mitigate. In this paper, we show how educators can use an in-class economic experiment to introduce the power of a sludge—a small behavioral intervention that leads to worse outcomes. We provide a step-by-step guide to take students through a demand revealing design using a second-price, willingness-to-accept (WTA) auction that tests preferences for tap water and bottled water when students receive total dissolved solids (TDS) information. Additional classroom discussion topics are presented, including comparing nudges and sludges, the public response to the treatment of tap water, and the role of safety information in consumer response.
  6. Sankey, Temuulen ; Van Den Broeke, Matthew (Ed.)
    Rapid impact assessment of cyclones on coastal ecosystems is critical for timely rescue and rehabilitation operations in highly human-dominated landscapes. Such assessments should also include damage assessments of vegetation for restoration planning in impacted natural landscapes. Our objective is to develop a remote sensing-based approach combining satellite data derived from optical (Sentinel-2), radar (Sentinel-1), and LiDAR (Global Ecosystem Dynamics Investigation) platforms for rapid assessment of post-cyclone inundation in nonforested areas and vegetation damage in a primarily forested ecosystem. We apply this multi-scalar approach for assessing damages caused by the cyclone Amphan that hit coastal India and Bangladesh in May 2020, severely flooding several districts in the two countries, and causing destruction to the Sundarban mangrove forests. Our analysis shows that at least 6821 sq. km. land across the 39 study districts was inundated even after 10 days after the cyclone. We further calculated the change in forest greenness as the difference in normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) pre- and post-cyclone. Our findings indicate a <0.2 unit decline in NDVI in 3.45 sq. km. of the forest. Rapid assessment of post-cyclone damage in mangroves is challenging due to limited navigability of waterways, but critical for planning of mitigation and recovery measures.more »We demonstrate the utility of Otsu method, an automated statistical approach of the Google Earth Engine platform to identify inundated areas within days after a cyclone. Our radar-based inundation analysis advances current practices because it requires minimal user inputs, and is effective in the presence of high cloud cover. Such rapid assessment, when complemented with detailed information on species and vegetation composition, can inform appropriate restoration efforts in severely impacted regions and help decision makers efficiently manage resources for recovery and aid relief. We provide the datasets from this study on an open platform to aid in future research and planning endeavors.« less
  7. Caracciolo, Francesco (Ed.)
    A popular strategy for mitigating climate change is to persuade or incentivize individuals to limit behaviors associated with high greenhouse gas emissions. In this study, adults in the mid-Atlantic United States bid in an auction to receive compensation for eliminating beef consumption or limiting vehicle use. The auction incentivized participants to reveal their true costs of accepting these limits for periods ranging from one week to one year. Compliance with the conditions of the auction was confirmed via a random field audit of the behavioral changes. The estimated median abatement costs were greater than $600 per tCO2e for beef consumption and $1,300 per tCO2e for vehicle use, values much higher than the price of carbon offsets and most estimates of the social cost of carbon. Although these values may decline over time with experience or broader social adoption, they imply that policies that encourage innovations to reduce the costs of behavior change, such as meat alternatives or emission-free vehicles, may be a more fruitful than those that limit beef consumption or vehicle use.